Lockdown one anniversary: First reflective space opened in North Tyneside

It’s exactly two years since the first lockdown and the space at the Silverlink will help people reflect on the past 24 months

To mark the two year anniversary of the first lockdown in 2021, an area of reflection and contemplation is being unveiled in North Tyneside.

Five memorial areas will be coming to the area under a new council scheme to reflect on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Connected to the borough’s 30-mile wagonway network, the areas of reflection are places where people can visit to remember the loved ones lost during the pandemic, as well as offering a space to reflect on the lasting impact the pandemic.

All of the reflection areas are based around the theme of a compass, detailed in decorative hard landscaped paving, with seating provided and natural planting, as places to sit and reflect.

The artwork in the centre of the compass is unique to the location where it is situated and has been chosen with help from local communities.

The first space was opened on Wednesday, March 23, exactly two years since the first national lockdown was announced.

The site was unveiled on a poignant day

North Tyneside Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE unveiled the area at Silverlink Biodiversity Park as children from North Tyneside Young Carers Centre will buried a time capsule.

Mayor Redfearn said: “I am delighted and incredibly proud to be opening the first of the reflection areas, particularly as they were created with help from our communities after residents asked for them.

“They’re a place for us to commemorate and remember those we have lost and reflect upon our shared experiences.

“We chose the compass design because the word compass combines two Latin words – ‘com’ which means together and ‘passus’ which means pace or step.

“Together they can be taken to mean ‘journey together’ which is something that communities in North Tyneside did throughout the pandemic and continue to do so.

“Our beautiful wagonways were very well used during the pandemic – and we want to continue to encourage people to continue to enjoy them for walking, cycling and wheeling – so locations linked with the wagonways seems a natural fit for the areas of reflection.

“I’d like to thank everyone who provided their views on the areas, and to the young carers for their brilliant time capsule.”

The time capsule contains items that were pertinent to the young people, who are aged between nine and ten, from the pandemic, such as face coverings, hand sanitiser and more.

Work is underway to create the other areas and they will be opened within the coming weeks. The locations and associated artwork include:

  • Silverlink Biodiversity Park – sundial design
  • Killingworth Lakeside Park – George Stephenson design
  • Redburn Dene Park (North Shields) – fishing design
  • Souter Park (Whitley Bay) – lighthouse design
  • Wallsend Hall grounds – shipbuilding design.